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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

46 posts categorized "Sales 2.0"

November 28, 2012

The Non-Conformist Seller.

I've been to a bunch of sales conferences, they're all the same.

There's some promoter who nervously laughs and shakes your hand in hopes that you won't see through the shell game which they have once again sucked you and 500 (their count) into.

Then there's the speakers, a mix of big company folks who are no smarter than anyone else in the crowd but because they work for mammoth company inc, we're certain they must be. 

We sit on the edge of our seats awaiting clarity and direction, only to find we are doing much of the same. (and in many cases we're the more progressive thinkers)

Of course you have the "consultants" and "industry experts" who chase after mammoth company execs like teenagers after Beiber.

And then there's the vendors, the hair-styled-suit-coated-carbon-copies of one another, ready to pounce as soon as you reach for a cup of coffee.

They hit you with the most predictable lines ever created, yet are certain of their originality.

I sit back and look at the whole charade and realize why the outside world looks down upon so many of  us.

We're a predictable lot.

It's hard to be a nonconformist amongst this peer group, but I believe that's what it takes to be truly successful as a seller or marketeer these days.

It takes courage and intellect to understand that if you approach customers from the non-traditional perspective you have a much greater chance of being successful.

Why do such a foolish thing?

Because customers actually have brains, they know your shtick and the next guys and the gal after that, and they put up with our disingenuous bullshit constantly- so when the real deal, the honest human comes into their over pitched world, it's like a breath of fresh air.

I'll never understand why 99.9 percent of us engage conversations so wrapped around our corporate scripts that we refuse to listen to our human instinct and just engage in a straight forward conversation? 

I think it's because down deep we're afraid to fail, and know if we remain inside our programmed robotic sales shell, well then, it's easier to take. 

I mean we're just supposed to follow "the program" - right?

Wrong, very wrong. Don't follow the program.

Here's a news flash, in todays real time, social-mobile-world, the program doesn't work. In fact, tell your boss his program sucks.

Once you free "your creative seller" from the box its trapped within, you'll be amazed with the result. 

But don't trust me - just do me a favor - trust you.

April 13, 2012

Glance and the Mechanic

My husband spent the first 1/2 of his career as a mechanic.  More specfically, a truck mechanic for Coca-Cola.  He knew every Coca-Cola distributing mom and pop store within 100 miles, and the best roads to use during high traffic times.  Why?  Because as a mechanic, it was his job to fix and maintain trucks.  Only some of that job took place IN the garage.  The other part took place under the broken-down truck, wherever it was, regardless of the weather.

As a mechanic, he was trained to know which pieces of equipment he needed to do the job.  He knew which ones would get the job done, vs. get it done right.  He had relationships with the Snap-On guy, and also knew when he could get by with a Craftsman alternative.  He knew how much time he had to get the Coke to the store, get the truck back home safely, and take the environment that particular day into consideration.  As a result, he has a high appreciation for the right tools, and I have a garage full of big red toolboxes on wheels, and very few recognizably branded tools.  

Sales is no different, and Sales 2.0 has evolved the choices of tools to a similar level.  There are tools that should get the job done, and then there are tools that are designed specifically for a particular task.  

We've seen an explosion in business intelligence tools, lead generation, content management, webinar, marketing automation, CRM, collaboration, sales incentive management, pipeline tracking and proposal management tools.  For some tasks, there are certainly as many choices available to sales as there are to mechanics.

Why then, do we seem to arm our sales reps with a marketing tool for a sales function?  Most of the collaboration tools I come across as a buyer (and even as a seller) are designed to host webinars, with the capacity to share some slides with up to hundreds of people, point a fancy mouse highlighter for all to see, poll the audience and more.  

How often are all those bells and whistles needed in a sales call?  Most of the time, sales calls are short, sweet and directly to the point, with little time for bells and whistles --- it's more about quick diagnostics and a visual concept to get past the next gate.  For that, sales reps need a collaboration tool that's light, fast, easy, reliable -- the right tool for the type of collaboration that occurs in the sales process.  The tool that will get the buyer back to their day job as quickly as possible, and help the sales rep move that conversation to the next step efficiently.   

Even in a Sales 2.0 culture, we've become so familiar with the tools from 1.0, that we just don't think about how important speed and simplicity is to the sales rep.  But the primary tool sales reps need are knowledge and listening skills, not fancy technology.  Technology that gets OUT of the way builds the relationship and accelerates the selling cycle.

Glance Sales Director Diane Fonseca is a Black Belt in Uechi-Ryu karate and is currently gearing up for the AA-ISP conference in Dallas. Follow her on twitter @DawnLeighF

October 28, 2011

The New B2B: Belief System-2-Belief System

Traditionally within B2B transactions, buyers were dependent on sellers to provide expert advice; ultimately leading towards courtship, evaluation, and acquisition.

 Of course they could pay consultants or purchase analyst research but ultimately all roads lead back to the seller; even in the Google era search results returned vendor controlled content.

 Conversely social networks promote a free and open exchange of information which continues to drastically impact traditional buyer-seller-relations and associated engagement models.

In other words, the rise of social selling and customer service will not jettison marketing, sales or support organizations however it will create significant challenges. This will happen in the early stages of development where competitive separation, trust and credibility would have been previously established directly through these channels, and in many cases, face-to-face.

 Add to this the record breaking rate at which mobile apps have invaded our work and home lives, or as Rick Segal, Worldwide President at Gyro HSR puts it, making both “a state of mind”; and you begin to get a sense of the broader shifting landscape.

 “(Technology) has changed the way we talk to business decision-makers. Being at work is no longer a place; it is a state of mind, a kind of continuing oscillation that people are making between their work life and their personal life.” – Rick Segal

 Managing home-work boundaries is a continuous effort for many of us, a separation which obviously needs to be maintained; at least until “Generation Z” arrives.

 I’m “GenX”, part of a generation born between the 1960’s and late 1970’s.  Unless your Dad worked at NASA you did not have a computer in your upbringing.

 My nephew on-the-other-hand is “GenY”. 

 He and his friends grew up watching extraordinary innovation change the world.  In fact, as part of a 2007 Strauss and Howe study of Y-students, it was revealed that 97% owned a computer and 94% owned a cell phone. They also found that 76% used instant messaging, of which 92% reported multitasking at the same time.

 And then there are my kids, “Gen Z”; born in the early to mid-1990’s through the early turn-of-the-millennium.

 Generation Z is highly connected, with lifelong use of communications and media technologies, earning them the nickname “Digital Natives.”  They carry smart phones in grade school, text more than talk, and prefer technology for communications; communications which are abbreviated, highly transactional, and out in the open. 

 Gen Z’s don’t think of innovation as their predecessors do; a utility to make life more efficient. Instead, and which makes them extraordinary, they see it as basic need, “Maslow-like”; food, clothing, shelter, and technology. 

 Gen Z’s  currently fall into the age range of 11-21; placing the eldest within the workforce as both buyer and seller later this year, where they will not gasp at the thought of conducting critical b2b discussions socially, nor will they wonder if work-life-balance is out of whack.

 Instead, paired with their Gen Y management team, they will move at speed of Z, ignoring those who cannot keep pace; driving permanent change to B2B and the most fundamental of systems – the belief system.

Maybe this is where we are heading, or maybe not. Regardless, today’s customers have options, they are no longer relegated to call or email a business to gather information.  

Instead they engross themselves in real-time conversations, through various business and social networks seeking answers through peer driven conversation, engaging our business’ as part of their process – at any time, from any device – never hesitating to outwit, or simply ignore our master plan for them.

I suppose this evolution has put us all in a position to make some tough decisions, less traditional, even outside of our own personal comfort zones, possibly way outside. 

Yes, in order for our business to remain accessible, available, knowledgeable, hip, and most importantly competitive; I believe that this is exactly what is going to have to happen.

Or I suppose, we could just put it off for a couple of years and let our kids deal with it.


-Tom Scontras, VP of Sales & Marketing, Glance Networks

February 28, 2011

Social Selling: Me,You,Yoda and Fergie

Recently there has been a lot of discussion regarding the impact that social networks will have (or not) on the future of the b2b sales and marketing. In fact, just a few weeks ago at the AAISP conference in San Francisco I gave a presentation entitled “The Future of Sales” – social impact being a big part of it. 

I thought it went well, however was surprised by the number of people who pulled me aside to ask:

 “Do you really think this social selling thing is for real?”

I did my best to paint scenarios of how future customer (2.0) engagement models will look, with organized groups gathering virtually to discuss issues and corresponding solutions – ultimately resulting in action and resolution.

 The next day I grabbed a flight home, where I landed 7 hours later on the couch in my living room watching along with the rest of the world as the people of Egypt reclaimed their freedom via a Facebook fueled revolution.

Of course selling b2b solutions pales in comparison to the overthrow of a dictatorship – there is no emotional or intellectual connection whatsoever. However, these incredible events made me come to realize that if social networks could be used as the central platform of communication to manage an uprising; we should all be pretty sure they will suffice for selling solutions.  

I thought of the b2b non-believers and wondered if they would make the same connection?

In case not, I decided to post on topic in order to summarize 3 key shifts which are already in play, the beginning of the b2b sales revolution – one which when complete will deliver us into “the sales future”. 

Hence, the 3 shifts and my thoughts on each: 

Shift 1: Social Nets, pushing sellers out of early qualifying conversations

Historically when a buyer sought solutions they were dependent on vendors to provide expert advice; ultimately leading towards courtship, evaluation, and ultimately acquisition.

Of course they could pay consultants or purchase analyst research; but ultimately all roads lead back to the same or similar set of vendors. In fact even in the “Google era”, search results return content predominantly controlled by sellers; hence the millions of man hours and dollars spent by marketers on PPC and SEO strategies.

Conversely social networks like LinkedIn, FocusQuora and to a lesser extent Facebook, promote a free and open exchange of expert advice; which has and will continue to drastically impact the traditional buyer-seller relationship and accompanying engagement models.

In other words, the rise of “social selling” will not exclude vendors yet create new and significant challenges for them; particularly within early qualifying stages where historically the foundation of trust, credibility and competitive separation would have previously been established by the seller.

Hence shift 1, the ability for “Customer 2.0” to push traditional introductory and information gathering conversations beyond the finite and heavily controlled “Vendorsphere” out and into the wide open social universe; a proven forum to connect and converse in real time with hundreds of trusted peers – only afterwards, once educated and on their schedule, determining which sellers to engage.

 Shift 2: “Workplace”- where it is, and when it is

There is no doubt that the advancement of mobile devices and apps represent key technological evolution, but the point I want to make here is that as they continue to penetrate our work and home lives, the line of demarcation between the two will no longer be one of physical presence, but instead as Rick Segal (@mrbtob), Worldwide President & Chief Practice Officer at Gyro HSR said in a recent interview with BtoB Magazine, “a state of mind”…

“(Technology) has changed the way we talk to business decision-makers. Being at work is no longer a place; it is a state of mind, a kind of continuing oscillation that people are making between their work life and their personal life.”

Think about that for a moment. 

In fact, here’s a test: have you used a mobile device today? Sent work related communication? Checked personal or work email?  LinkedIn? Been on Facebook? Or Tweeted?

Here’s the kicker – did you stop to think about where you were or what time it was when you did this? 

Probably not, I know I didn’t.  

Hence shift 2; mobility changing home-work boundaries; no longer consciously considering a hard line between the environments – or if we do, it has become increasingly difficult to keep that line in focus – a separation that in the future will not exist; bringing about the final shift; the pinnacle event – a point in time where Gen Y and Gen Z take over influence and decision making roles within the b2b workforce.

Shift 3: The coming of b2b-age for Gen Y & Z.

I’m “GenX”, part of a generation born between the 60’s and the late 70’s – unless your Dad worked at NASA you did not have a computer in your upbringing. Gen Xr's introduction to technology may have been part of their High School “Management Information Systems” curriculum, or later in the form of a Mac128 on their college campus. However for most, regular access didn’t exist until post-graduation.

My nephew on-the-other-hand is “GenY”.  Although birth dates for “Y’s” are a bit of a moving target most say this generation came to life in the decade spanning the early 80’s to early 90’s.  

This group grew up watching extraordinary innovation change the world.  In fact, as part of a 2007 Strauss and Howe study of Y-students, it was revealed 97% owned a computer, 94% a cell phone, 56% a MP3 player. They also found that 76% used instant messaging, of which 92% reported multitasking at the same time.

And then there are my kids, all 3 of them “Z’s”; born in the early to mid-90’s thru the early turn-of-the-millennium.

Generation Z is highly connected, with lifelong use of communications and media technologies, earning them the nickname “digital natives".  They carry smart phones in grade school, text more than talk, and prefer technology for communications – communications which are abbreviated, highly transactional, and out in the open. 

They do not think of innovation as their predecessors do; a utility to make life more efficient. Instead, and which makes this third shift extraordinary, they see it as basic cultural need, “Maslow-like”; food, clothing, shelter, and technology – so to speak. 

Currently GenZ’s fall in the age range of 11-21 years old; which means the eldest will be entering the workforce later this year or in 5-7 years have influence on either side of the table; bringing with them their genetic predisposition and cultural desire to be “always on”.

Z’s will not gasp at the thought of conducting critical b2b discussions in real time, nor will they wonder if work-life-balance is out of whack; instead they will be moving at the speed of “Z” as Digital Natives do – ignoring those who cannot keep pace; a remarkably unique characteristic that when paired with their future Gen Y Executive Management Team will bring about dramatic change.

Hence, shift 3, the empowering of “Y” and “Z” within the workplace as buyer and seller. Above all shifts, this one changes an element of b2b that the others do not – the culture.

Summing the Shifts

Although an individual review of each shift is interesting it is not until you sum all 3 that you find “The Future”; a time when mature and trusted social networks are accepted within a mobile state-of-mind-culture where influence and decision making is controlled by digital natives – a time when b2b “selling” will become unrecognizable from its current state. 

I spent 10 years within the contact center market where I toured hundreds of Network Operating Centers (NOC’s) at some of the largest companies in the world.

The NOC is a space-aged-place where teams of analysts sit in front of 100’s of flat panel screens monitoring every movement of the corporate network - the entire time responding to alarms and beacons suggesting suspicious activity.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but when I think of the future of b2b sales, I see a similar engagement model for social sellers. Specifically one where technology exists in the palm of their hands to monitor the movement of  influencers and decision makers as they make their way from one social conversation to the next; tracking them with apps that recognize key words and phrases that when paired, like the network analyzer from the NOC,  alerts them to “critical conditions”.

Crazy right?

I am simply surmising my thoughts, yet the one that keeps coming back to me is that which I had when Larry Reeves of AAISP first called and suggested a presentation on this topic.  I laughed to myself as I considered using imagery from Star Wars, something that would continually remind the audience just how far-fetched this all is - “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away”.

However in reality, I’ve come to realize it’s not.  

In fact, beyond Glance’s recent launch of Glance for Salesforce; a chat-like demo service designed to snap squarely into this world of real time socially driven sales conversation; there have been a couple of other companies namely InsideView, and Salesforce.com who have made announcements of their own signaling the rapid formation of this social universe.

First, InsideViews CEO, Umberto Milletti closed our San Francisco event with his announcement of their  Social Selling University.  It makes sense as their service is one of real time social alignment; tracking key decision makers via their output into the social strata; a brilliant vision allowing inside sales organizations to build intelligent engagement models - a massive competitive differentiator from the laggards still pounding cold calls into the ether.  

Second is Marc Benioff’s Chatter.com.

By now we have all seen the Superbowl commercials touting Chatter. I must admit, besides the thought of reviewing sales forecasts with Fergie - I really didn’t get the positioning.  But that’s why he’s the man, and I’m still working on it; the commercials weren’t aimed at me; they were instead “shift 3” oriented, specifically geared for the Facebook gen, it was all about the coming of the “Z’s”.

When I began all of this I was truly thinking about making some crazy prediction of the future, however, the more I dug the more intriguing it became, along with the obvious discovery – that the future is now.

In fact, my instinct was to close this blog with the words, “may the force be with you”; but in retrospect that just seems old, backwards looking or as the Black Eyed Peas would say: “so-two-thousand-and-late”.

January 24, 2011

Brrrr...It's Cold In Here | A Practical Tip for Warming Up That Icy Reception Your Cold Calls Are Getting

I read a great post by Sales 2.0 author Anneke Seley on Selling Power's blog today, where she referenced an "open letter to vendors" from an IT Manager named Justin Davison. In his letter, posted in the Spiceworks user community, Justin castigates the sales professionals who disturb his work all day long with prospecting calls that are truly cold - they haven't bothered to research Justin or his company beforehand, and are simply playing the traditional Sales numbers game, hoping for a hit. Justin urges Sales professionals to get to know him first and to "talk to his problems", rather than just pushing their solutions.

Think about it. Wouldn't it be great if you could get to know your prospects before cold calling them?  Wouldn't this make your cold calls much warmer, if you knew something about the needs, concerns, and pain points of your prospects before you made the call?

Well, there is a way. Its called social media, which is really just a fancy word for 'online community': Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, blog posts, even the "old-fashioned" online communities like forums and listservs. These are communities where your customers are hanging out, sometimes ranting, sometimes conversing, but often looking for answers, solutions, and recommendations.

This is where you come in.

Now, not only can you find out what issues keep them up at night, but if you actively and thoughtfully contribute to their community, you set yourself up as someone who knows something about their field, their interests, their pain points...their world. Note that when I tell you to "thoughtfully contribute", I'm not talking about posting promotions and offers, or even pushing your product or company. I'm talking about adding real value by retweeting the advice of others considered "experts" (always a polite way to enter any community), by answering questions in a relevant manner, and by posting original thought leadership in your field.

So, when the times comes to make that cold call to someone like Justin, imagine how different things might be if he recognizes your name, and even recalls how you answered a question in his online community! You won't feel that icy chill blowing through the phone.

Here at Glance, we have a Sales Manager that does a great job of getting to know his prospects and thoughtfully contributing to his customers' communities via social media. His name is Mike Walsh, and you can follow him on Twitter where he hangs out as @SalesOsmosis.

I'll end this post with 2 sentences from Justin's letter: "I challenge you to use new ideas to communicate with me and my peers and differentiate yourself from the people who are still cold calling every day. I challenge you to move beyond COLD calling..."

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing & Social Media, Glance Networks

>> Bring your sales demos to life with Glance. Try free!


January 20, 2011

2012: The Enterprise Sales Apocalypse?

You don’t have to look to the Mayan calendar for signs of the Apocalypse for field organizations selling and supporting enterprise software solutions.  Instead, I would point you to the product release schedule of leading enterprise platforms like Salesforce.com, Oracle and Microsoft, and the speed at which they are moving core revenue-generating applications to the Cloud.

Consequently, I think it wise that Outside Sales Professionals, System Engineers, and Regional Managers, take the necessary steps to adapt their skills to fit future B2B recurring revenue models. 

As I’ve watched the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market evolve, it has become clear to me that once specific elements of the “cloud universe” align, the need for armies of expensive outside sales teams will rapidly erode.

Particularly, I have been monitoring the orbits of the following:

  1. Enterprise Market: enterprise acceptance of the cloud as mission critical 
  2. Market leaders: major platform co’s shifting to meet demand
  3. Pricing Models: resulting price reductions
  4. Liability: extinction of perpetual agreements
  5. Customer Engagement: customer preference for virtual/real time engagement

I’m sure we could debate each of these items; however, if you follow B2B software trends, you’ll agree that we are moving closer to this astronomical event - every day.

I am not suggesting that outside organizations are on the verge of immediate extinction, nor am I promoting tenure for inside reps.  I’m simply making the point that as the enterprise moves more and more of its mission critical apps to the cloud; software companies will not only migrate their solutions, but their entire sales, marketing and support models. 

Making the leap will required field personnel to adopt the proficiency of inside sales representatives to become what I refer to as a Hybrid Rep; someone who has the expertise and required skill to navigate the enterprise, carry an established network of influencers and decision makers, yet demonstrate stellar phone-skills, the ability to leverage 2.0 tools, and engage in social media.

Most importantly, many will need to realize that given the decrease in average deal size found within this subscription world, along with the limited (time) commitment required by customers; that quotas and compensation will also evolve, inversely impacting on-target-earnings.

So if you’re out there tonight reading this post, sitting in that all too familiar regional jet; turn your gaze upwards, through the clouds, and into the stars, and ask yourself if you’re ready for this new Cloudy Universe and all of the challenge that it will bring.

Because unlike some fantastical movie or crazy prediction, this change is real, it’s upon us and worlds will collide.

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing, Glance Networks

>> Come hear Tom talk about Sales 2.0 at the AA-ISP's Inside Sales 2011 San Francisco, Feb. 10


January 13, 2011

Stuck in the #Snowpocalypse? Keep Working From Home With No-Brainer Screensharing Tools

With snow reported in all 50 states in te U.S. this week, and the #snowpocalypse  (don't blame me, that's what they now call 'blizzards' on Twitter!) hitting most of the East Coast, many of you got stuck at home, either taking care of kids home from school, or literally snowed in by unplowed roads.

Miss a day of work?! Not you! You've signed for Glance or another screen sharing service, and you just keep on working, meeting, managing, pitching, selling, demo-ing, implementing, presenting, collaborating, executing, accomplishing, producing, achieving...and, killin' it!

Yesterday, one of our favorite Glance customers, Derek Dean of Reed Construction Data, a division of global information solution provider Reed Elsevier, sent me an email that said simply, "Glance is a lifesaver for us right now! All our reps are working from home." Derek and his reps are stuck at home in an still-icy Atlanta, but still working, thanks to Glance's easy screensharing and demo tool (and now integrated within Salesforce). Thanks, Derek! We love feedback like that!

I'm no weather forecaster, but I can safely predict more snow this Winter, so why not get prepared and sign up now?! If you have never tried screensharing, its cloud-based software (i.e., no downloading required) that allows you to share anything and everything that is on your computer screen, with one or more people on their computers, regardless of where you all are -- in other words, you can work or meet together even if you're not in the same place. If you're still unsure, try it free first for a week.

Once you try screensharing, its hard to go back (that was my own experience).

Until the next snowpocalypse,
Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

December 28, 2010

Customer 2.0: Still Human

One of the things that comes with my job responsibility is heavy solicitation by SaaS sales 2.0 tools companies.  Yet frequently I find the engagement skills of many peddlers lacking.
Sales conversations seem to have become a lost art.
Even with the companies we’ve moved forward with, I have found the entire buying experience very “vendor focused”, with little time invested in genuine dialogue.
Sure, many of their automated processes are edgy and most likely producing results, but rarely do these exchanges take into account the underlying emotional triggers of the buyer, for example, the need to establish rapport, credibility and trust.
Instead, it’s all about the transaction.  Pure volume, forced through an assembly line of inexperienced, over-scripted telesales reps - a modern day SaaS selling sweat shop.
Possibly I’m dating myself and this is just the way it is now, the new SaaS Sales 2.0 belief system?
I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not selling – not to me.
Put it this way, we can be as hip as we want with our tools and theories, but if genuine customer conversations, whether within the selling or support phase, even within a transactional B2B model, are not a priority; you will ultimately pay the price in the form of lost deals and soaring attrition rates.
Sales 2.0 is all the rage these days -- I compare it to the early days of the customer service revolution: use speech to automate a process, increase volume, decrease transfers to agents, ultimately reducing cost per transaction and driving more business. 
An outstanding premise supported with incredible technology, it just miscalculated one small thing; that customers would hate it.
Why?  Because customers want to be heard, they want to have a conversation, a relationship. Or, like Bruce Springsteen says “just give me a little of that human touch”.
Today, Call Centers spend an incredible amount of time analyzing “Customer Experience”.
In fact the same companies who at the onset of this revolution sent jobs overseas and invested heavily in “low cost, high volume” are the ones who are now pulling jobs back to the States, and have learned when to be aggressive with process and technology, and when not.
As Sales 2.0 Pros we need to take a lesson from our cousins in the contact center and realize that although we have the tools now to be smarter, faster, and more transactional – it doesn’t mean that’s how our prospects and customers want to be treated.
In full disclosure, if you were to look inside Glance's own sales process, you will find a drop down menu within our salesforce.com implementation that lists which sales “touch” each rep has completed.  I think after today’s blog, and earlier “social media” experience, I will have to add one last touch to the list:

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales and Marketing, Glance Networks


December 23, 2010

[VIDEO] Glance Asks | What's Your Funniest Sales Story? At Dreamforce 2010 #df10

We've all experienced them, whether we want to admit it or not - those awkward moments in business when we realize things haven't gone quite as we had planned. At last week's Dreamforce 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Glance took its cameras to our Glance for Salesforce launch party at B Bar and asked colleagues across the industry, "tell us your funny sales story!".

Watch and enjoy!  (And watch out for our cameras the next inside sales conference you attend - its your turn next!)

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks


December 20, 2010

Top B2B Trends for 2011 and What They Mean to Sales Professionals

It's that time of year again -- everyone is making their predictions for 2011. Here at Glance's blog The Upside: Killer Sales Tips, we thought of you, our audience of sales professionals, and culled from a variety of sources what we think are the Top 2011 B2B Trends for you.

Fast Company's Lisa Nirell, recently wrote up her predictions for 2011, after talking to C-Level B2B execs across North Amerca:

1. Forward-thinking CEOs will loosen their purse strings and invest in top line growth. So, now is the time to bolster your value prop with ROI financials and give them a reason to invest in your product.

2. Interactions with and customers will need to be even more transparent. If you're not being completely responsive about your strengths and weaknesses on your web site, your emails, and online posts, someone else will do it for you.

3. Consumers still want to simplify their lives. Your customers are still feeling overwhelmed, stressed and impatient. You've got to be ready to deliver what they want when they want it. They'll appreciate you for it and give you their business.

4. "Push marketing" is dead. Long live pull marketing. Don't bother telling prospects why they should work with you. Instead showcase key insights and lessons by creating and participating in communities where your customers hang out. Your customers will be drawn to your community the more value you provide.

Jeremy Victor, at B2B Bloggers, lists these 2 trends as critical in 2011:

1. Your blog (and your website) are now your cold call. Similar to Lisa Nirell's #4 above, Jeremy's point here is that your B2B prospects now "own the discovery process and educate themselves across multiple channels". So you've got to create a dialogue and use it to get found, to educate, and to attract prospects.  (BTW, this point about doing content marketing was on everyone's prediction list!)

2. Cold calling becomes real-time calling. Through a combination of web analytics, marketing automation, real-time lead identification, social media monitoring, and sales pipeline analytics, the tools are now available for yours to become a real-time sales organization, i.e., one that can provide its sales pros with actionable, real-time info that identifies not only who to call, but what to call them about.

Finally, here are 2011 CRM predictions from the Experts at Focus.com:

1. CRM will evolve from being a customer database, to being a driving force in your organization that determines the value of loyal customers, what they want, and when they will want it.

2. Sales productivity will continue to increase, as companies continue to run lean with the painful memories of the recent recession. They'll balance balance growth with investment even as the economy rebounds. For you, that means using the new crop of Sales 2.0 tools and apps (many of them already integrated into your CRM system) to squeeze the most out of your time.

3. Companies will focus on micro-analytics in their CRM systems. Managers will need to measure at every level, in order to fine tune their sales process for productivity gains. They'll need to capture, measure, track and analyze the impact that sales activities like demos and collaborative support calls have on the business.

What are your own predictions for B2B sales and lead generation in 2011?

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

>> Try Glance for Salesforce, free for 30 days -- the only sales 2.0 tool that enables users to launch impromptu sales and support sessions instantly, right from within Salesforce.com, and provides dashboards for real-time productivity measurement.